Omnipod gone rogue

Ok so this is interesting. After 5 years with my son on omnipod we know about failures, but last week we had a bizarre incident I’ll call an “anti-failure”. His PDM did that rare and wierd thing where it goes completely cuckoo and you have to poke the tiny button on the back with a paper clip to reset the whole thing. So when it comes back to life, it says to activate a new pod. Assuming the incident has deactivated the old pod, he gets a new pod and starts it up, but being an absent minded and distracted 16 year old incapable of keeping up with his own gym shorts, he doesn’t actually unstick the old pod from himself immediately, thinking he’ll peel it off in the shower and then forgetting (this happens on occasion, I think he has actually been found with two deactivated pods decorating his person in addition to the active one 🤦). He goes about his business and then goes to bed. Throughout the evening and overnight we were battling unusually severe and persistent lows, failing to resolve even when I turned the pump off in addition to sugar, but soccer workouts recently started and he had a low carb dinner so I figured he had just had a super hard workout and kept pouring juice into him. Sometime the next day, still battling lows, he noticed his extra pod passenger, and then he deduced that while New Pod was running normally and accepting boluses, Rogue Pod was still running a basal! So essentially he had two basals going. Took it off and the world was instantly normal again (but not before I changed all the settings for the pretend dramatic shift in insulin sensitivity and then had to change them all back!).

Isn’t that bizarre? And seemingly a safety loophole. We knew that if the PDM fell off a cliff and smashed, the pump would continue to run a basal for its usual time period, which is a good thing if you like to climb up cliffs, but had no idea it would allow two pods to stay active at once. Anyone else been able to activate a second omnipod while another was still running (not that this is something one would generally do on purpose)?

The sad but hilarious sequel to the story is that he never deactivated Rogue Pod since the PDM didn’t acknowledge its existence, but simply dropped it in his trashcan. At 4am the following morning, he hears the pod scream of death. In a teenage sleep stupor after being up half the previous night, he assumes the screaming pod is the one he’s wearing and deactivates it. The screaming continues, so he comes downstairs, takes New Pod out on the porch and gives it a few whacks with a hammer (our manual pod deactivation method of choice), the sound has stopped so he comes back in the house…where the screaming is still going. He finally figured out it’s Rogue Pod, fishes it out of the trashcan, takes it outside and whacks IT with the hammer, comes back in and puts on a third pod, and goes back to sleep. In the morning, he forgets the whole thing til I ask him why there’s a hammer on the porch.

Try explaining THAT one to the auto-answer guy on the omnipod phone line when you call asking for replacement pods :joy:.

From now on I’ll make him check for second pods, like ticks!


Awesome story!! Love the hammer deactivation—I find that method very satisfying!! :joy_cat:


Oh my that is a fantastic story! I have a 17 year old and can definitely remember the 16 year old “stupid” phase. Thankfully the 17 year old has a less severe case of it. That is a great reminder to understand the tech! Thanks for sharing it.


Yes I have done this. Here is a post about it.

This pod behavior makes sense because the PDM can only communicate with one pod at a time. When you activate a new one, it tells you to deactivate the “current” pod.

But what if that “current” pod is dead or has fallen off and is lost? If you can’t deactivate it, you can “discard” it, meaning the new pod can become the pod that is communicating.

Otherwise if they did not do it this way, if you ever lost a pod you could never activate a new pod because it would make you deactivate the old pod first, and if it was lost, you could never deactivate it.

And the idea of having a pod continue to run even if your PDM is not around also makes sense, because that lets you go to the store without your PDM, or swim or take a shower, and your basal can continue no matter where the PDM is.

Does all that make sense?


Haha, I should have known you would have done on purpose what others manage to do only in bizarre accidents! And I am loving the mental image of you poking your PDM with a really long stick to fool it about the whereabouts of the pod :grin:. Very resourceful!!

Definitely agree that having the pod continue to deliver basal even when its “brain” no longer functions is important for safety. Has helped us in a situation where we needed an emergency PDM replacement that couldn’t arrive for a day or so – switching to injections for bolus is a lot less trauma than starting up lantus. Or when the PDM met it’s demise while we were away from home.

We will try the “discard” function sometime, I didn’t know about that. What I still can’t figure out, however, is why we were able to run two pods when Rogue Pod (pod #1) had never been out of range of the PDM, but I assume something occurs when the PDM undergoes an emergency reset that is similar to it receiving a command to discard pod #1, or in other words, permanently breaks the communication link between PDM and existing pod. Makes sense.

Or maybe he used a really long stick to press the PDM reset button :joy:. Interesting!


I find that if I keep an iPhone removal tray tool or a small jeweler’s screwdriver around, that severs the motherboard on the pod itself and stops the screaming. Not as fulfilling though as a hammer.


I do the same! I even carry it in my waist bag when running! I use it to toggle the Riley link as well when there is a persistent red loop. This is not often, but better to be prepared with the screwdriver!


Oh my! Too funny! :rofl:

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So a few nights back I am going to bed and wearing a pullover type fleece which I proceed to pull over my head but as I do so I can feel the G6 sensor on my arm catching and starting to pull off. Having removed the fleece I then search in the arm and locate the sensor which I deposit in the bin and then start to think about going downstairs to find a new sensor to put on BUT then my phone (which is running xDrip+ with speak mode on) says 9 point zero! WHAT!!! How is it doing this? So I check my Dexcom receiver and sure enough it’s still active and reading!

So now I am very confused and start searching in the bin for the old sensor and eventually I found 2 sensors but neither of them had a transmitter - all this time my phone and the receiver are working away fine at which point I am so sleepy I don’t care any more and just want to go to bed so I remove my trousers and discover another G6 on my thigh! I had forgotten I had put the new one on there! I empathise with your son, lol, and I have just turned 73.